Opinion | White House

Biden got a lot done in a short time

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President Joe Biden has been in office for six months, and he's already made progress fighting the devastating pandemic and reinvigorating the weak economy that gripped the nation during Donald Trump's last year as president. So far, so good for Biden and the nation. The new president has got a lot done in a short time, with little or no help from the GOP.

Thanks to Biden's transformative leadership and Democratic control of Congress, more jobs were created in the first 100 days of any presidency since 1939. Apart from helping the country's economy bounce back, his administration is helping to fight the pandemic; hospitalizations are down for those who are vaccinated, and so are COVID-19-related deaths.

The biggest achievement of the new administration so far was the congressional passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. The new law provides financial assistance to state and local governments to fight the pandemic and to add people to the workforce.

Most Americans have recognized the success the president has had in adding jobs and subtracting pandemic deaths during his short tenure. The latest Real Clear Politics (RCP) average demonstrates a majority of Americans approve of his performance, which is more than one can say about Trump's ratings.

There is a compelling contrast between the new president and his predecessor. More than half of the public likes Biden while most Americans still have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.

Fortunately for Biden, "The Donald" is not a shrinking violet. Trump's clinging visibility is the perfect foil for the new occupant of the White House. Trump has left the White House, but he continues to cast a dark cloud over the nation. Long after his decisive defeat, he's still on the campaign trail relitigating his loss and assailing Democrats and Republicans alike.

In this divisive and hyperpartisan political climate, presidential approval is hard to come by. Overwhelmingly, Democrats credit the new chief for his performance. Independents split down the middle and most Republicans fail to acknowledge Biden's exertions to rescue the United States.

His approval is a function of the positive scores he receives for his performance dealing with the two biggest crises - the pandemic and the slumping economy-  he inherited.

A national NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist poll was released late last month, and it closely reflects the RCP average in overall performance. Most people gave the new president a good grade.

Nearly two out of every three Americans approve of his performance fighting the deadly disease. During the small timeframe after taking over the Oval Office, the number of COVID-19 deaths has decreased dramatically, and the number of vaccinations has increased exponentially.

But the threat of the pandemic rears its ugly head again in the form of the Delta variant. Only one in three Republicans approve of the president's pandemic performance, which might be indicative of the refusal among many of them to receive the vaccine.

The new president gets respectable scores for economic performance.

Exactly half of the public approves of his handling of the economy and less than half disapprove. This reflects the increase in the available supply of jobs and the decrease in the number of unemployed Americans since Trump's departure.

Last week, parents, many of whom suffered last year, started to receive checks to support their children. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) will provide greatly needed financial relief to the working families who bore the economic brunt of the pandemic, which Trump failed to take seriously from the start.

Senate Democrats have tentatively agreed on the need for a big legislative package that would repair the nation's outdated infrastructure, fight the ravages of climate change and provide jobs to many Americans.

Passage of this bill only needs the approval of the 50 Senate Democrats under budget reconciliation rules. If this legislation becomes law, the proposal will provide a big jolt to the economy and it will be a significant investment in America's economic prosperity throughout this century.

The new commander in chief has succeeded because at a time of great crisis, he's been bolder than his political pedigree as a moderate establishment politician suggested. He hasn't completely pleased progressives, but he has gone the extra mile to address the urgent problems facing the nation and priorities of Bernie Sanders supporters.

Biden's best bet for his party's fortunes in the midterm elections is to demonstrate to voters that he fixed the two biggest problems that threatened the health, wealth and wellbeing of the nation while his predecessor downplayed the grave peril that faced America in the last year of his presidency.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast "Deadline D.C. With Brad Bannon" that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.

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